A Cambridgeshire Special Constable has had an emotional reunion with a grandfather whose life she helped save during a running race.
Selcan "Selly" Rowles, who is based at police HQ in Huntingdon, was among those recognised at last night's (November 9) Chief Constable's Long Service and Commendations ceremony.
The bi-annual ceremony recognises and rewards the work, commitment and bravery of police officers, staff and members of the public. Selly was presented with a Royal Human Society Resuscitation Certificate
Selly, 33, was running in a five-mile road race last year when, after roughly one mile, she noticed a disturbance up ahead and some runners shouting for a marshal.
She realised 67-year-old Tom Sullivan was in a ditch collapsed. She stopped and checked his pulse but could not find one.
Selly, who has been a Special for five years, and three other competitors assessed him and started CPR and continued for about 30 minutes before ambulance and then air ambulance arrived.
Speaking last night Tom, who attended the ceremony with wife Mary, said: "It’s very, very emotional and obviously it’s lovely to be able to say thank-you for saving my life.
"Selly said to me, ‘you spoke a few times when we were doing to CPR’, but I’d got no memory of that and really the only way for me to recognise her today was the picture in the paper just after the incident.
“I said, ‘Selly I can’t thank you enough for saving my life. I’ve seen my second granddaughter but I wouldn’t have seen her if you hadn’t have stopped'.
“At the hospital they said it was the quality of the CPR that saved me and made sure my memory was virtually intact. She fully deserves this award but to me nothing is really enough for what she did for me.”
Selly said: “I didn’t know he was going to be here tonight so it was a big surprise and very emotional. It’s brought back a lot of memories. I said, ‘I’m not going to cry, I’m only receiving a certificate, I’m honoured’, but then they said Tom is here and I felt the tears coming.
“I’m very proud to have been able to put into practice what I learnt and it worked, most importantly. And as people have told me, many people would not have stopped in a race because it’s so competitive but I’m happy that I found the values in myself to stop and it’s made a difference. Tom tells me he’s just had a granddaughter that he wouldn’t have seen and I still get goose pimples just talking about it.”
Selly said she now plans to run the same race again in Wellingborough with Tom and Mary.
Selly's story was just one of many heard by attendees at the ceremony. Others featured bravery, life-saving actions, safeguarding and dangerous people being brought before the courts.
Chief Constable Alec Wood, who presented awards in front of an audience of friends and family, said: “Last night we presented long service awards to our officers, staff and volunteers for their loyal and dedicated commitment to the force, alongside commendations in recognition of remarkable and selfless acts and those who have worked in adverse conditions. They all deserve the recognition they received.
“My personal thanks and congratulations go to each and every one of them.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite added: “I am always humbled by the amazing stories that highlight the professionalism and commitment from officers, staff and volunteers involved in our policing family.
“On behalf of the people of Cambridgeshire I would like to thank all officers and police staff for the exceptional work they do in keeping our county safe.”